This article (Jogging to music? Unplug for a safer workout) states the obvious by claiming that runners who listen to music pose a threat to themselves by becoming less aware of road dangers such as traffic or criminals.
There's also an additional claim that iPod runners, being distracted, may miss their body signals to speed up or slow down, thereby missing out on an optimum workout as well as being oblivious to small injuries that may require them to stop.
As a long-time, music-free runner (over 2 decades), I agree with both assessments. Many times on my running routes I come across narrow roads, blind curves, fast cars, sirens, and unfriendly dogs. In many cases I can navigate these challenges easily because I can hear a car noise or some commotion ahead. I can't imagine how I would face all these obstacles with music blaring in my ears.
The article is also correct about the distraction caused by music. I tried running to music a couple of time some years ago. In those cases I felt less in touch with body and the runs were much less enjoyable. Guess I'm the type that likes full sensory involvement in the running activity. I actually run for its pure enjoyment, not for the health benefits, so why drown my mind in music while running?
The part of the article I have a problem with is the governments wanting to force runners to shed their ear buds. This is such a ludicrous violation of personal freedom. I don't run with music but many runners do. Leave us alone. Instead perhaps concentrate on catching speeding cars. I mean where will this lead? Jogging police checking our shoes for correct fit, checking clothing for appropriate layers, or checking our hydration levels?
I can only see the court systems clogged with running felons 🙂